In 2020, the outbreak of COVID expedited the adoption of e-commerce at an astronomical rate. Historically retail-focused brands were forced to find a way to sell directly to the consumer, and those previously set up for direct-to-consumer selling saw major booms in data across the board.

This new norm has carried into 2021 despite much of the U.S. seeing a much-needed uptick in retail foot traffic and sales. E-commerce giants like Shopify have provided a playing field that allows any individual or business to start a business and sell products directly to consumers at a fairly unrestrictive barrier to entry. 

covid accelerated ecommerce

Image Credit – Acuity

Still, despite all of these major shifts or expedition to what was happening pre-pandemic, e-commerce still remains a hard game to master. With the introduction of IOS changes instituted by Apple, the paid customer acquisition game could quite frankly be changed forever.

Smart marketers, brands, and agencies have had to adopt a holistic mindset to marketing and, for the first time in e-commerce, cannot just rely on paid traffic via Facebook and Instagram ads as their only means of reaching, acquiring, and maintaining customers.

Resources for eCommerce Brands

Below are some of the top resources, services, and apps that are focused on helping brands grow their direct-to-consumer strategies. 

2PM – Perhaps the most in-depth, focused content out there related to the collision of commerce and content is 2PM. While very scientific and well researched, it’s communicated very efficiently and effectively. It speaks to brands, marketers, and agencies alike and seemingly always has the most up-to-date information on how to grow direct-to-consumer brands in the most meaningful way possible — not just the latest hack or app. 

Triple Whale – Despite e-commerce having significantly more data available than the traditional retail sales model, there still somehow has been a major hole in the market for e-commerce brand owners and operators to view, know, and understand their data without being overwhelmed.

While it’s a new application focused on Shopify stores exclusively, it has come onto the market quickly — while introducing new features (such as Lifetime Value cohorts, an easy-to-view revenue dashboard, as well as an e-commerce calculator to understand profitability) every single week.

Kno – In the face of tracking and attribution issues for major advertising platforms, Kno has cornered the market on post-purchase data. Kno is a must-have for Shopify stores wanting to help merchants fill in the gaps of their missing customer data through post-purchase surveys. 

Postscript – Touting a massive round raise and a massively higher return than email marketing, Postscript is one of the major players taking SMS marketing from annoying to a major portion of how brands can attract, maintain, and grow owned audiences.

Postscript integrates directly with Shopify stores and is well known for their product features and white glove service team. 

Gorgias – Supply chain issues and delivery delays have continued to ravage the direct-to-consumer world as small parcel volumes rise and supply chain struggles to keep up. Customer service and experience has never been more important, despite most consumers understanding the new normal of delays when ordering online.

Gorgias provides a centralized dashboard and software to pull in any interaction that a customer may have or want to have with your e-commerce brand. This includes, but isn’t limited to, phone calls, emails, direct messages, and social comments. 

Elevar – While no perfect software exists to address the lack of data that is missing from the major Apple IOS update, Elevar helps fill in the gaps that traditional analytics and first-party data leave. It significantly helps map the customer journey from prospect to long-time customer while detailing cross-channel ROI analysis.

Konstant Kreative – Creative has become more and more important by the year as more brands continue to spend larger and larger amounts of money on paid social. Konstant Creative provides an outsourced team to deliver high-quality, scroll-stopping content for direct-to-consumer brands that helps add to or offset existing creative capabilities and infrastructure. 

While this doesn’t begin to encompass all of the great tools out there, these mainstays have provided every merchant with the opportunity to continue to succeed in a ripe market as society continues to move even more toward digital. 

[Related: Use Your Calendar to Drive Sales for eCommerce]